Jan 2025 deadline unreachable for AIIMS Kashmir

The executing agency for the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) in south Kashmir’s Awantipora has expedited the construction work for the ambitious project following the direction of the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, officials said.

However, according to sources, the January 2025 deadline set by the ministry in 2019 seems unlikely to be met as nearly 50 percent of the work still needs to be completed.

Last month, the health ministry directed the officials and executing agency Nagarjuna Construction Company (NCC), to speed up the construction and clear the roadblocks and official rigmarole.

This comes after the Secretary of Health and Family Welfare, Government of India, Apurva Chandra reportedly found some delay in the project during his visit to the construction site in May.

“Only 50 percent of work has been completed in five years. So, it is impossible to complete the remaining 50 percent of work in five months,” said an official, privy to the project.

On the contrary, AIIMS Jammu has already been inaugurated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in February, he said.

Aijaz Batla, Manager, Administration and Liaison NCC, admitted there had been some delay in executing the AIIMS Kashmir project. However, he attributed it to extreme weather conditions in Kashmir.

“For almost seven months, the construction work stops in Kashmir due to extreme weather conditions like snow and cold. Otherwise, there is no lacunae from our side,” he said.

Batla said the agency had cleared the major roadblock including the issue of labourers. “Now, the construction work on AIIMS Kashmir was going on a war footing basis,” he added. In addition to the official delay, the legal dispute over land acquisition for the access road, a clampdown post-abrogation of Article 370, and issues with a nearby army base delayed the project. However, the project has now been accelerating in recent months.

To recall, the AIIMS Kashmir project was approved in 2019 with an estimated cost of Rs 1828 crore. AIIMS Awantipora, when completed, is planned to add 1000 beds to Kashmir’s healthcare capacity, including 300 super-specialty beds. It will also house a medical college with a capacity of 100 students and a nursing college for 60 students.

 

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